The quality of art is often in the eye of the beholder—there’s a reason why some painters are never valued during their lifetime and only become applauded until after their death, like Vincent Van Gogh. Maybe these artists are just “before their time,” or maybe their dogged persistence is what brings value to their work. This is a concept that’s also wonderfully lampooned in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia by Danny DeVito’s character as he mocks the world of modern art sales.
While there are instances of modern artists who have no issue stealing money from folks who are commissioning their work, like Danish “take the money and run” legend Jens Haaning, one TikToker found that pitching her art on Facebook Marketplace in the right light could be a lucrative process. She was able to sell a piece of work she spent 20 minutes on for $500.
Lora (@lorabla) relayed a story on TikTok of how she grabbed a massive 6-foot canvas, plopped it on the floor of her living room, and quickly plastered a design on it that she downplayed as “ugly” and simplistic, and then put it for sale on Facebook marketplace. To her surprise, someone was not only interested in the piece, but they offered her $450 for it, and Lora was able to squeeze a little extra money out of the transaction after offering to deliver it for $50 more.
Her video on the sale with a stitched clip from fellow TikTok user Matt Mahoney about a handmade ashtray he gifted to a crush who unceremoniously sold it on Etsy for $160. Lora chimes in with an online arts & crafts sales story of her own: “You think that’s impressive? Hold on, let me show you the painting that I sold for $500 on Marketplace that took me 20 minutes to paint on my living room floor. And I thought this painting was ugly but this is a lesson on being f*cking delusional.”
The clip then transitions to a green screen that Lora stands in front of, initially blocking out the piece of work that she’s about to show to her audience. “This is it,” she says, moving off to the side and revealing a black painted canvas with streaks of white paint on it. “I posted this on Facebook Marketplace and I sold it for $500, this…I mean, materials—this is 6 feet tall—so the materials were a little bit expensive maybe like $200, $175. But I posted it on Facebook Marketplace. I wrote ‘Original painting, not a print, designed by local artist.'”
When a potential buyer messaged Lora asking who made the painting, Lora decided to keep the origins of the work vague.
“I was like, ‘Oh, this local artist from my hometown,'” she says. “I’m an artist, I’m from my hometown.”
The woman then offered Lora $450 for the painting, to which Lora offered a price of $500 shipped. The buyer agreed, but Lora was suspicious.
“I was like, ‘These people are gonna, they’re gonna rip me off…who’s gonna pay $500 for this?'” she recalls. “I drove up to their house— [a] beautiful home. Her dad came out, she came out. They took it out the car they were looking at it they were like, ‘Oh wow, wow,’ and she paid me.”
Lora was shocked that 20 minutes of her effort gained her $500. “This took me 20 minutes, and now I am a sold artist,” she says at the end of the video, throwing up two middle fingers to the camera as she shows off the staged painting her satisfied customers hung up on their home wall.
@lorabala #stitch with @Matt Mahoneyoneyoney #greenscreen #artist ♬ original sound – Lora
Commenters who saw the video had a variety of opinions on Lora’s clip. Several noted that she misinterpreted the spirit in which Mahoney’s video was posted. “I think you missed the point of the ashtray vid babe,” one user wrote. Another said, “I think he meant that he invested time and emotion in this, and they sold it.” Lora acknowledged that she misread Mahoney’s original post, thinking he sold his ashtray on Etsy—not someone else.
One viewer argued that they thought the person who purchased Lora’s painting probably wouldn’t be too happy to learn the origin story behind her work: “The person who bought the paint watching this [shocked emoji].”
Another user said they thought Lora’s artwork wasn’t as bad as she was criticizing it to be, reinforcing the idea that art is subjective. “I might be delulu but this just seems like nice art to me. Maybe you’re way more talented than you think,” they said.
Others echoed this sentiment, writing: “Girl that’s actually so good.”
“Nah I see it, looks like a good contemporary piece,” someone else replied.
One TikTok user replied that considering the time that went into painting the piece along with the cost of materials, that five hundred is not a bad price for it: “If the materials are for $200, considering your time and originality… $500 is a reasonable asking price.”
Still, many commenters leaned into Lora’s idea that she was somewhat scamming the Facebook Marketplace art buyers.
“One thing about rich people, they love artwork of any kind,” one wrote.
“Wait new side hustle unlocked,” another said.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Lora via TikTok comment for further information.